A 15-year-old girl who was spending her day off from school with her boyfriend was shot late yesterday morning in the face as the couple lingered on the back porch of his family's Brooklyn Park house, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.
Maranda Callender, a student at North County High School, was taken by ambulance to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. She was listed in critical condition early yesterday evening.
Police said they were searching for a man - possibly in his teens or early 20s - whom witnesses saw fleeing from the area just after 11 a.m. yesterday. The shooting occurred in the 200 block of W. Edgevale Road in Brooklyn Park, said police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Urbas.
Urbas said police had no leads and were trying to determine a motive for the shooting.
Jonathan Cochran, the girl's boyfriend, said the bullet missed him by inches as he was leaning over to kiss her.
The Brooklyn Park Middle School pupil said Maranda had come over about 10:45 a.m. to awaken him, and that they had then moved to the back porch of the tiny rowhouse to smoke a cigarette. He said he felt a quick rush of air and heard a loud pop, and that Maranda slumped to the floor of the metal porch.
The boy, 14, said he told police that he saw a young man dressed in a hooded sweat shirt and dark jeans running from the alley behind his house just after the shot was fired. Urbas said the boy provided no further details about the shooter during two hours of questioning.
Mary Walker, Jonathan's mother, said yesterday that she believes the bullet was intended for her son, who has had problems with other youths in the neighborhood just across the Baltimore line.
In May, she said, the boy and his older brother were threatened by a large group of teenagers outside their home. Jonathan, who was accused of brandishing a knife during the incident, was charged as a juvenile with possession of a deadly weapon, Walker said. The disposition of the case was unclear. Their attackers were not arrested, Walker said.
Walker said that her son and Maranda had been virtually inseparable since they started dating nine months ago.
"They're like glue. You could never tear them apart," Walker said. "They don't even socialize with other people. ... It's just them two, so much in love."
Family members of both teens say Maranda was a counselor for the troubled Jonathan, who had recently struggled with the loss of his 49-year-old stepfather and 25-year-old sister.
A few weeks ago, Maranda gave Jonathan her North County High School picture, which he held yesterday as he sat crying on his living room couch, feet from where he had held Maranda hours before as she lay critically injured.
Maranda, who will turn 16 next week, suffered serious injuries and will need surgery to remove bone and bullet fragments that are lodged in her skull, said Ralph Johnson, her stepfather.
Johnson said that doctors are "amazed" at how well she is doing considering the severity of her injuries, but that she remains at risk.
Both families are trying to make sense of the incident, saying they fear for their safety because the shooter is at large.
Sun staff writer Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this article.